'Say that again?': United States intelligence chief's shocked response to Putin invitation

Donald Trump invites Vladimir Putin to visit Washington in autumn

He gave Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin the benefit of the doubt, and then said he held him responsible for meddling.

The announcement of the invitation came as the White House sought to clean up days of confounding statements on Russian interference in the 2016 election that sent Trump to the presidency.

U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, July 17, 2018.

Here's how the week played out.

A White House meeting would be a dramatic extension of legitimacy to the Russian leader, who has always been isolated by the West for activities in Ukraine, Syria and beyond and is believed to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election that sent Trump to the presidency.

This meeting came as somewhat of a shock to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats when he was told during a press conference on Thursday.

In the wake of a firestorm over his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump on Thursday fired back at his critics by posting an old video of Hillary Clinton. Sanders said the White House was considering Russia's idea of allowing its officials to interview 11 Americans - including former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul - in exchange for special counsel Robert Mueller to interview 12 Russians indicted for meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election. I think it's kept us apart. "There was no collusion at all".

It was also only the latest example of an administration official charged with combating foreign influence in the United States steeling their spines and sending signals about standing up to Trump - or at least working around him.

While the White House appeared to be considering the idea, lawmakers scrambled to issue a unified response against Russian Federation. "Look at all the things that I have done", the president said.

Sergei Aksyonov, the governor of Crimea, told the Russian state-run news service RIA Novosti: "I am positive that [Putin] is doing everything in his power to [get the U.S. to] recognise Crimea [as a Russian region] and lift the sanctions". Sort of a double negative.

Moscow's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine prompted the United States, the European Union, and others to impose sanctions on Russian Federation.

At the end of a meeting with members of his Cabinet, a reporter called out a question.

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On Thursday, Sanders said in a statement that Trump disagreed with the proposal.

Russia's security services have reportedly launched an investigation into state treason after a suspected leak of secret hypersonic missile technology to the West from inside some of the country's leading research labs.

Now it may be a case of being careful what you wish for.

Last month Trump appeared to leave the door open to the U.S. recognising the annexation.

He also lashed out at Europe and US-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, saying Russian Federation would hit back with an "equivalent response" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bases near Russia's borders and other "aggressive steps". Russian Federation became involved in the Syrian civil war in 2015 in support of its ally President Bashar Assad.

"I don't know what happened in that meeting", he said.
"The president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russian Federation is unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past and as we have stated".

Trump sat down with CBS News anchor Jeff Glor and affirmed that he thinks Russian Federation meddled in the election.

Speaking Friday in Moscow, Anatoly Antonov did not directly respond to Trump's proposal to invite Putin to Washington later this year.

"I would, because he's in charge of the country".

Bloomberg said Putin was proposing a ballot of residents on the status of the two territories, carried out under worldwide auspices.

"When it got too hot, the GOP reaction was, "We don't want to know".

Coats said he expected details of the meeting to trickle out in the coming weeks.

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